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Case Study

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt manages customer flow with Waitwhile



SUMMIT One Vanderbilt


New York, NY


Entertainment & Museum



Located atop the tallest commercial skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is a four-level experiential installation that is designed with the intention of transcending everyday experience.

Guests can push the boundaries of their sensorial reality through a number of immersive art experiences that integrate sweeping views of Manhattan and beyond. Among the highlights is Ascent – a 12-story all-glass elevator ride to the highest point of SUMMIT, 1210 feet above Midtown.


guests per day

The Challenge

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is a four-level art experience that culminates with the Ascent, a thrilling ride to the top of Midtown Manhattan’s tallest commercial skyscraper – on the world’s largest glass floor exterior elevator. When the experience was getting ready to open to the public in October 2021, the SUMMIT Guest Experience team knew that they needed a reliable virtual queue management system to control the flow of guests, or they risked long wait times and low customer satisfaction scores.

The Solution

When SUMMIT One Vanderbilt VP of Guest Experience James Potter assumed his role in early 2021, he inherited a virtual queue system that was pricey and cumbersome to use. After he found Waitwhile, James loved how comparatively intuitive it was to use, and that it was nearly half the price of the incumbent solution.

Implementation was quick and easy. The Guest Experience team at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt met with their Waitwhile Account Manager for a thorough tour of the platform and a setup consultation. Then, SUMMIT Guest Experience Managers trained their ambassadors – staff who interact with guests – via a hands-on training session and pilot run. Within days, the team was ready to welcome paying customers.

Because there is limited space available on the Ascent all-glass exterior elevator (it can only serve a maximum of 192 guests an hour), managing the flow of guests is critical to ensure a positive experience. Waitwhile enables the SUMMIT Guest Experience team to always know how many guests are on their way to the attraction and to message them when it’s their turn. With free WiFi throughout the installation, both U.S. and international guests are reachable through Waitwhile via SMS or email.

After guests make their way up to the 91st floor of One Vanderbilt from Grand Central Station, they are met with QR code signage that encourages them to check-in via Waitwhile for the Ascent experience using their phones. SUMMIT ambassadors are also stationed with tablets to assist guests who prefer a face-to-face experience. To check-in, guests enter their name, email, party size, and accessibility requests (all of these fields are customizable in Waitwhile).

Once they are checked in, guests are free to make their way through the self-guided three-floor journey, which ends with the Ascent glass-floor exterior elevator at the top. After 45 minutes – the average time it takes to move through the immersive installations – guests receive an automatic notification on their phones via SMS or email to make their way up to the 93rd floor for the Ascent. Most guests should be ready at this point, but if they want more time in another part of the experience, they can easily respond through Waitwhile to let ambassadors know.

As guests board the elevator, SUMMIT ambassadors simply mark guests as “served” with the click of a button and Waitwhile then automatically summons the next set of guests in line.

Features used

Virtual Waitlist

Allow customers to get in line virtually and wait from anywhere.

SMS Communication

Keep an open line of communication and notify customers when it’s their turn.

Capacity Management

Track entrances and manage customer flow.

Operational Analytics

See when you're busiest and get personalized improvement recommendations.

The Results

Waitwhile automates tedious queue management for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, ensuring smooth customer flow and a positive guest experience. Without having to stand in a physical line, guests get to deepen their engagement with SUMMIT’s immersive offerings using time that would’ve otherwise been wasted.

According to VP of Guest Experience James Potter, the relationship with Waitwhile has been very easy, right from the start. Waitwhile’s intuitive interface is simple for staff to learn and operate, and similarly straightforward for guests to use.

With Waitwhile, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is able to operate an invisible virtual queue, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the installation while critically managing customer flow to deliver a smooth experience for both staff and visitors.

“Waitwhile has helped us deliver a world class experience to nearly 500,000 guests since opening in late 2021. The virtual queue integrated seamlessly into our daily operations and has been well received by staff and visitors.”

James Potter VP of Guest Experience, Summit One Vanderbilt

James Potter VP of Guest Experience, Summit One Vanderbilt
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